How to appear before the IUB without an attorney as a pro se litigant (Party)

The following general information explains how you can appear pro se, meaning without an attorney, at contested case hearings and other proceedings conducted by the IUB. This information is not legal authority.

Anyone appearing without legal counsel should review the actual statutes, administrative rules, and other guidance relevant to appearing in their case. If you intend to appear at hearings or other proceedings conducted by the IUB, consider obtaining legal advice or representation.

I. Request to participate pro se

If you wish to participate in a contested case or other proceeding, you must file a pleading requesting to appear. A contested case proceeding is a docket in which your legal rights, duties, or privileges will be determined after a hearing.

The pleading you file is usually a petition to intervene as a party in the proceeding. A sample Petition to Intervene is available on the IUB's Forms and Applications page.

If you are

  • an affected landowner or
  • filed an objection in an electric franchise or pipeline permit docket

and wish to participate in a hearing, you can either

  • file to intervene or
  • file in the docket and ask the IUB to allow you to participate, give testimony, or ask questions.

If you have not intervened, the IUB will decide whether to allow you to participate.

II. Intervention

Intervention means you are a party to the docket and you have the same rights and obligations as any other party.

As a party you may:

  • conduct discovery of other parties; that is, ask written questions of the other parties before the hearing.
  • file pleadings that request IUB action or are in response to other parties’ requests for IUB action.
  • file the prepared testimony of yourself or other witnesses. Prepared testimony is a document with written questions and answers that address the issues you want to raise with regard to the docket or in response to prepared testimony of other parties.
  • appear at the hearing and present testimony, cross-examine witnesses, and raise issues with the IUB about the evidence.
  • file post-hearing briefs as allowed by the IUB.

As a party your responsibilities are to:

  • conduct yourself in a manner consistent with the standard of conduct for attorneys,
  • meet the procedural deadlines adopted by the IUB in a procedural schedule, and 
  • respond to other parties’ discovery requests.

III. Appearance at hearing

A hearing before the IUB is similar to a trial in Iowa district court. The parties will:

  • appear before the three-member Board and present witnesses,
  • cross-examine other parties’ witnesses, and
  • take other action as required.

Under IUB procedures, direct testimony is prepared and filed in advance in the docket, so most examination of witnesses is cross-examination by opposing parties.

A party is allowed to offer additional evidence in the form of hearing exhibits. Admission of hearing exhibits is at the discretion of the IUB. Hearing exhibits are required to be filed in the IUB's electronic filing system (EFS) following the hearing.

IV. Post-hearing participation

Following the hearing and the filing of post-hearing briefs, the IUB will:

  • review all the evidence and testimony filed and presented in the evidentiary hearing,
  • deliberate, and
  • issue an order with its decision, addressing the issues presented.

Once the IUB’s final decision and order is issued, parties can:

Learn how to Make a Filing with the IUB.

V. Filing comments or objections in a docket without appearing as a pro se litigant

The IUB welcomes comments, objections, or letters of support on proceedings that come before the Board. File written comments using the IUB's online open docket comment form. These comments will become part of the record in the docket.

Direct questions about IUB procedures or filing in the electronic filing system to or 515-725-7300.

You may also contact the Office of Consumer Advocate at or 515-725-7200.

NOTE: Direct communication with Board members or IUB staff in a contested case proceeding is prohibited by Iowa Code section 17A.17 and IUB administrative rule 7.22.